Football returned to the Mile High City on Saturday night as the Denver Broncos hosted the Dallas Cowboys.
More than 64,000 fans piled into Empower Field at Mile High for the preseason debut.
Quarterback Russell did not play but still wore his uniform and led the team out onto the field. Coach Nathaniel Hackett rested all but four starters to ensure they will be as healthy as possible when the regular season begins.
After a slow first quarter the Broncos got things rolling in the second half. Backup quarterback Josh Johnson launched it to Brandon Johnson who caught a deep pass down the field for a 40-yard gain to setup a first and goal at the five yard line.
Johnson put the Broncos on the board with a one-yard pass to Seth Williams for the touchdown.
Dallas would end up punting on their next possession where rookie Montrell Washington would return the punt 27 yards to set the Broncos offense up with perfect field position. Josh Johnson would cap the drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Kendall Hinton to put Denver up by two scores.
Johnson may have solidified his spot as the number two guy behind Wilson, as he finished 16/23 passing for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
The Cowboys scored late in the fourth quarter but the Broncos held on for the win, 17-7. Denver is 1-0 and the win marks Nathaniel Hackett's first as an NFL head coach.
"It's always great to win," Hackett said, "but in the end, we still have a lot of work to do."
Up next, the Broncos will head to Buffalo to take on the Bills this Saturday at 11am.